Scanning question (Is destruction of old tech docs a moral crime?)
cisin at xenosoft.com
Sun Jul 21 21:58:39 CDT 2019
On Mon, 22 Jul 2019, Guy Dunphy via cctalk wrote:
>> Most of us probably wouldn't destroy a Cultural Artifact (e.g., Taliban
>> destruction of Buddha of Bamiyan statue) but many might destroy a Technical
>> Artifact in the belief that its overt information content defines its value,
>> and that one that value has been captured digitally the Technical Artifact
>> effectively lives on in that form. The corpus is merely that ...
> Even if the digital version _did_ fully capture the information content, I
> strongly dispute that the physical item/document has lost it's value.
> That 'digital is all we need' viewpoint is a trap for the naive, because:
. . . and does it FULLY capture the information content. One might
think so, but much later, somebody asks, "in the number on page 576, is
that a '3' or an '8'?"
There is always the possibility of a need to go back to prior, or even
> The necessity to preserve multiple redundancy, is why destroying a hardcopy of a 'rare-ish'
> manual in order to scan it, is so bad. Especially when the tendency to do that has become
> widespread, so there's a high rate of attrition of whatever do remain in private hands.
Many arguments are actually based on inadequaate definition of terms. Two
people who might actually agree argue based on having different
For example, cutting the spine off of a book can definitely be considered
to be DAMAGING the artifact. But do we want to consider that
Certainly landfilling once something is scanned is "DESTROYING" (although
what was the final result of the landfill salvage of those game
But putting the book back on a shelf, without its spine?
That may seriously damage cultural aspects, but not necessarily the
And, admittedly, there can be some corner cases, such as if slicing off
the binding lost notes scribbled in the margins by an important prior
Oh, and when you die, your executor may be quick to discard all of those
unbound books. When I die, contact my sister, bring a skip, and offer to
do all of the hauling for her at a lower rate than any of the commercial
At some point, most collections end up in the hands of "administrators"
with no appreciation for the materials. "And, it is certainly not worth
the cost to keep all of this crap!"
Another example to keep bringing up -
BBC did not think that there would be any further need of the already
aired Dostor Who episodes, and could reuse the tape. Besides, "some other
department has copies of all of them". There's 100 episodes for which NO
copies have been found. It's a big deal when a 16mm B&W print is found
in a shed in the outback, or even home 8mm movies of the living room TV
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